Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool now boast a defensive record to rival their attacking threat in Premier League title push

Reds have maintained a clean sheet in their last two matches against Southampton and Manchester United

Liverpool's attacking threat has never been in question but manager Brendan Rodgers believes the balance they have struck in recent weeks gives them an even better chance of winning matches.

The Reds are on a 10-match unbeaten run, having won eight Barclays Premier League games since the start of the year and racked up a plus 20 goal difference for that time, but back-to-back clean sheets at Southampton and Manchester United have pointed to improvements elsewhere.

"If you look at the two sets of teams we were playing against, both are teams that can be offensive," he said.

"To have two clean sheets and restrict Manchester United to one shot on target - their lowest at Old Trafford in five seasons - shows you how hard our players are working without the ball as well as with it.


"It is the balance we have been looking for; we are playing an attacking aggressive game but it is equally important for us to defend.

"If we show that balance in our game it gives you the opportunity to win more."

Their form since the turn of the year has given Liverpool a shot at the title while also enhancing Rodgers' reputation as one of the brightest young managers around.

After the 3-0 win at United, captain Steven Gerrard urged owners Fenway Sports Group not to waste any time in extending the Northern Irishman's contract, which has a year to run with the option for a further 12-month extension.

"It gives me happiness that the captain, who is an iconic figure at this club and has worked with so many great managers, will say those words," said Rodgers, who has stressed he is focused on finishing the season rather than tying up loose ends on any new contract.

"As the manager you are aiming to earn the respect of the players - you don't necessarily have to be liked - and the supporters and hopefully, at this time, both are happy with where we are heading but we have a long way to go.

"But there will be no individual in this final part, it can only be on the club and the team."

In recent weeks Rodgers has opted for a settled line-up with only minimal changes when a tweak of approach was needed against a particular opponent.

But that does not mean he is neglecting those who have been restricted to supporting roles from the bench.

"You'll get the best out of players when they know they've got a challenge," he said.

"If a player has someone behind them that's really pushing to come into the team, that will hopefully stretch them to be at their best.

"The more competitions we're in, in the future, you have to interchange but long as everyone knows their job and can come in and do the job, that's what's important."


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform